Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

DEI Statement and Department Committee

Statement of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa

June 2020

 

PDF iconCommittee of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We strongly believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in academia not only enhance creativity, but also provide broader and important perspectives from different backgrounds. As scientists, educators, and citizens, we are outraged and saddened by the recent killing of George Floyd by the police in Minnesota on May 25, 2020, and by the several similar tragedies of Black victims that occurred in the past. The Department has been committed to the inclusion of faculty and trainees of color and cultivating a safe and welcoming environment for all personnel. It is our responsibility to fight racial inequity and systemic racism in the scientific community through collective effort and innovative approaches.

 

The leadership team in the Department would like to share our vision and action plans to continuously enhance DEI and to prevent potential institutional bias, racism, violence, discrimination, and inequity as follows:

  1. We condemn police brutality against Black and other underrepresented minority (URM) members of our community.
  2. We reinforce our continued commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in our Department as well as in the fields of microbiology and immunology. In the Mission Statement of the Department, we particularly emphasize “a diverse and inclusive environment” of education, research, and service.
  3. Multiple mechanisms are in place at the College and University levels to report instances of racism and discrimination that occur in the workplace. We list the following resources:

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) focuses on identifying, recruiting, and retaining individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in medicine and biomedical fields. We are mindful and respectful of all aspects of human differences and define diversity in the broadest sense to mean inclusion of all persons who contribute to a welcoming, inclusive culture across the enterprise. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has posted an anti-racist Resource Guide to help all of us take action against racism.

Additional DEI resources for students, faculty, and staff are available on campus:Pentacrest at the University of Iowa

Student resources

Campus Inclusion Team, 319-335-1162

University Counseling Service, 319-335-7294

Office of the Dean of Students, 319-335-1162

Center for Diversity and Enrichment, 319-335-3555

Office of Graduate College Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 319-335-2143

Academic Support and Retention, 319-335-1497

Student Disability Services, 319-335-1462, TTY 319-335-1498

Faculty and staff resources

UI Employee Assistance Program, 319-335-2085

Faculty and Staff Disability Services, 319-335-2660, TTY 319-335-3495

Campus resources

Equal Opportunity and Diversity, 319-335-0705

Office of the Ombudsperson, 319-335-3608

Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC), 319-335-1486

Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), 319-335-6000

4. We consistently value and are dedicated to increasing the racial diversity and presence of minority groups in our Department at the trainee, staff, and faculty levels. We have had some success in recruiting URM faculty and students in the Department including Black faculty and trainees, but we must continue to improve. Our specific action plans and ongoing implementations include, but are not limited to, the following:

1)  At the trainee level:

(a) To further increase annual applications and enrollments of URM undergraduate and graduate students through our Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Microbiology, Graduate Program in Microbiology, and four NIH T32 training grants (funded for 20-35 years), as well as the interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Programs in the CCOM and the University. Importantly, all of these nationally recognized programs and long-standing grants have specific sections to address how to enhance DEI in student recruitment and training. For example, since 1994, our REU program has provided a pivotal research opportunity to 8 undergraduates each summer, of whom 5 were URMs and 5 were women (on average). About 70% of the URMs who attended our summer program went on to graduate schools. For the Microbiology Graduate Program, 14% of applicants were URM students among the total 524 applicants based on the available data since 2013. Since 2017, we interviewed 51% of URM applicants and made offers to 33% of them. To enhance URM student enrollments, we have received eight URM scholarships (2-4 per year) from the CCOM since the scholarships were established in 2018.

(b) To recruit URM undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, multiple departmental faculty and CCOM representatives annually attend meetings of both the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Those students who visit our booths at these conferences and express an interest in microbiology and/or immunology are personally contacted by our faculty and are encouraged to apply to the University of Iowa and our REU and graduate programs;

(c) The Office of Graduate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is also committed to fostering a welcoming environment for URM graduate students and offers a Fellowship Incentive Program;

(d) We specifically emphasize and promote DEI at the bi-annual Career Development Workshop for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the Department and other graduate programs. The workshop has been co-organized and co-sponsored by the Department and T32 training programs.

2) At the staff level: To recruit and retain URM staff in research and teaching labs, as well as the department office by providing additional financial and administrative support through our joint efforts with CCOM and the University.

3) At the faculty level: To recruit and retain URM faculty members through our joint efforts with The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the CCOM and the University. The Department faculty will invite more URM seminar speakers starting the Fall semester in 2020 (likely will be virtual seminars due to the concern of COVID-19).

5. To facilitate conversations on how our Department can be more accessible, accepting, and supportive of URM scientists at every level.

1) Establishing a Departmental DEI Committee: We have established a DEI Committee comprised of faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, and students (particularly URM members). The committee members meet monthly with the Department Chair as a collaborative group to promote and implement DEI activities;

2) Highlighting DEI activities and URM accomplishments: We will continuously use the Department website, social media, annual newsletter, and other public platforms to promote DEI activities and academic and research accomplishments of URM members;

3) Supporting community DEI outreach: We will continuously encourage and support faculty, staff, and trainees to participate in community outreach activities to enhance DEI.

In summary, we firmly believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are critical to our Departmental Goals of continued success in education, research, service, and career development. Working together with our students, staff, and faculty to fight racial inequities and systemic racism, we will make a stronger and better Department, College, and University.